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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York’s theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we’re passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
There's juggling and then there's THIS. In the New Vic's first ever all-juggling show, Wes, Tony and Patrik take to the stage to perform jaw dropping, giggle inducing, eye popping stunts that you have to see to believe. We had a chance to ask them a few questions about their juggling journey!
 

 

Water on Mars From left to right: Patrik, Tony and Wes
When did you first start juggling?

We all started juggling very young. At the ages 5, 7 and 8. It's never too early, though. Some jugglers start at age 3!

What is the strangest thing you've ever juggled? 

The strangest thing we have juggled would have to be ice cream cones or cactuses. You have to flip them in a weird way so you don't get jabbed by the cactus!

Tell us more about the name Water on Mars. What does it mean?

Water on Mars, to us, represents the idea of an exciting discovery! When we juggle, we're constantly researching new tricks and new ways of juggling. Remember the wonder mankind felt when water on Mars was discovered? We want to have that kind of amazement fill every aspect of our juggling. 

Do you have any advice for kids who want to start juggling?

Talent is such a small part of being a good juggler. If you want to be a juggler, just start practicing and never stop. YouTube has thousands of great tutorials to get you started! 

What sets your show apart from other juggling acts?

Our show is different because we took three completely different and unique jugglers and combined all of our skills, ideas and brainpower to come up with something that brings out the best in us. 

How did you guys first meet?

We all come from very different backgrounds. Tony studied musical theater and dance; Patrik studied acrobatics and circus; and Wes learned juggling from his father, who was also a juggler. We met at the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, Sweden.

What is the best part of being a professional juggler?

We get to juggle toilet paper for all kinds of people all over the world! 

How high can you juggle?

We cannot toss or juggle anything as high as Mars... but we're working on it.

What do you hope kids and families will take away from Water on Mars?

Our goal is to push the boundaries of the art form and your understanding of what it means to juggle. We hope this show sparks a sense of exploration of curiosity to invent something new!
 

Wes Peden (USA) won a Bronze Medal at the 33rd Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain. He has performed in 18 different countries, including shows for the King and Queen of Sweden on three separate occasions. Wes graduated from the University of Dance and Circus with a degree in juggling and lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Tony Pezzo (USA) is one of the most creative minds ever to pick up juggling props. With his fingers on the pulse of youth culture and his eyes on the prize he calmly turns the world upside down with his mind-bending catches and physics-breaking throws. As an American, Tony subscribes to the idea that no matter how much tap dance you performed as a child you can still move to Sweden and make the cover of Vogue for juggling.

Patrik Elmnert (Sweden) was born in Uppsala, Sweden in 1989. He started performing at the age of nine, dressed in a tailcoat and a glitter top hat. Patrik has spent most of his time this past decade researching and specializing in ring and club juggling. Since his graduation from the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, Sweden, he has performed on five of the seven continents on this planet. 
 
 
New Victory Thumb Drop everything and come to see Water on Mars! Get your tickets today.
Posted by Beth Henderson

Written by Michael Karas, Professional Juggler

My name is Michael Karas and I'm a professional juggler. You may have seen me last season in Bello Mania at the New Vic! I love juggling, but most people don’t know that much about it. Since the next show at The New Victory Theater, Water on Mars, is all about juggling, I wanted to take a few seconds to talk about four things you think you know about juggling—and show you why they're completely wrong. Check out the trailer for Water on Mars below and read on for some juggling mythbusting!

1. Juggling is for clowns.

For some reason, most people tend to think of clowns when they think of juggling. It's true that many clowns know how to juggle, but they often know how to do tons of other things, too. Clowns in the circus are often called upon to be multi-faceted performers, a fancy way of saying they're "jacks of all trades." However, most hardcore jugglers take juggling very seriously and rarely wear anything resembling a clown outfit. The jugglers in Water on Mars appreciate contemporary fashion and wear clothes that are comfortable and that make a statement. They dont consider themselves clowns, or even circus performers. They are jugglers, plain and simple. Their primary job is to make great theater using the art of throwing and catching objects.
 

2. Juggling is all about DANGER!

Michael Karas Juggler Michael Karas
Not true at all! As a juggler, I can tell you that juggling seven balls is way harder than juggling three knives or even four burning torches! While audiences seem to like the thrill of dangerous items being thrown around, the truth is that most jugglers can learn to juggle three knives or three torches in about a month. The juggling in Water on Mars, however, has taken decades to carefully craft, and these three gentlemen are certifiably the only trio who can do what they do. Thousands of jugglers can handle knives and torches; but Wes, Tony and Patrik have invented thousands of new tricks that never existed before they came along.
 

3. Jugglers always juggle the same stuff—balls, rings and clubs.

Or so you think! While many jugglers tend to stick to the three standards (balls, clubs and rings), contemporary juggling is questioning all those old ideas. Jay Gilligan, the juggler who trained Wes, Patrik and Tony, started a company called Renegade Design Lab that partnered with Renegade Juggling to research and create props that have never been used before. New ideas have emerged that will surprise you: clubs with cups for holding balls, interlocking rings that roll and even balls that spray water as they’re juggled! When props are needed faster than the manufacturing process allows, Wes tends to get out rolls of duct tape and tape props together, thus creating what I call "Frankenstein props" (some of which you’ll see in Water on Mars.) If you make it, they can juggle it! What are some things lying around the house that you can juggle? An apple, a toothbrush and a plastic plate, perhaps?
  Frankenstein Props
Tony, Patrik and Wes often use taped-together "Frankenstein props."

4. Juggling is boring.

I hear this all the time, "I like juggling for a couple minutes, but then I get bored." Most people think juggling is basically one or two patterns. Either you’re juggling objects in a circle or in a figure eight. Then you add another object… and rinse and repeat. If this is your view on juggling, I would beg you to reconsider and check out Water on Mars. These three guys are known and respected all over the world (yes, I happen to be a major fan) for their incredible invention of new ways of juggling. They're always teaching special workshops at juggling conventions about creative new tricks you can do, utilizing new techniques and mind-blowing body contortions. The reason I think this group is so special is that their show is, most importantly, fun and accessible to all audiences. They perform incredible feats, while simultaneously not taking themselves too seriously.

Juggling is my life—I've been doing it for 20 years. I've seen hundreds of jugglers from all over the world and I can tell you honestly… Water on Mars is a unique treat, and I will be in the audience more than a few times to witness this spectacle for myself. It's not often that New York City has the opportunity to play host to not one but three of the world's top jugglers. If you think you have a good sense of what juggling is, think again! These guys are taking the art of tossing and catching to new heights. Drop everything (pun intended) and come check out this crazy show! 

If you have any questions about juggling as an art, hobby or profession, comment below! I’d love to hear from you. If the question is "Should I learn to juggle?" then I'll save you some time. The answer is "YES! Start today!"
 
New Victory Thumb Put your newfound juggling knowledge to good use and come to see Water on Mars! Get your tickets today.
Posted by Beth Henderson